Hopes for a transformative president - Politico
Dec 12 2013
By Senator Dianne Feinstein
Originally published in Politico
The following essay is part of a series in which dozens of women will reveal what women they most admire. The series is part of “Women Rule,” a unique effort this fall by POLITICO, Google and The Tory Burch Foundation exploring how women are leading change in politics, policy and their communities. See more essays here.
In 2000, shortly after Hillary Clinton was elected to represent New York in the Senate, I was honored when she called seeking my advice.
When I first met Hillary in 1992 during Bill Clinton’s run for the White House, I was immediately impressed by her commitment to helping people and her grasp of complex policy issues. She is one of the most talented and impressive women I’ve ever known, so I had no doubt she possessed the ability, stamina and passion to make an outstanding senator.
Even though she came to the Senate as an international superstar, she immediately proved her mettle.
She did her homework. She worked across the aisle.
She didn’t get bogged down in party politics. She worked hard for her constituents.
As a senator, Hillary committed herself completely to the nuts and bolts of legislating that separates the show horses from the workhorses in today’s Senate.
She defied the skeptics by working not just with Democrats but by developing productive relationships with Republicans — many of the same senators who had been relentless critics of the Clinton administration.
And that hard work paid dividends.
Hillary mobilized resources and services to help the victims of Sept. 11 recover and rebuild. She worked closely with the families of those killed and insisted on compensation and health care for first responders.
She also met with our troops overseas and worked on behalf of veterans. She fought for women and children’s health, education, economic development and trade.
Hillary was deeply committed to democracy in Tibet and Burma.
And she fought in committees and on the Senate floor for every corner of New York.
In other words, she was a model senator.
Eight years later, after many months of a grueling and exhausting campaign, she and then-Sen. Barack Obama met privately at my home in Washington to put the primary behind them and set a course to win back the White House.
Cynics questioned Hillary’s commitment to that cause, but those of us who knew her well had no doubt: She would be an invaluable asset on the campaign trail and eventually a trusted adviser in the Obama administration’s Cabinet.
Hillary is a patriot who loves her country completely. Her deep commitment to public service and progressive causes runs through her veins.
At the State Department, she proved to be an outstanding diplomat.
She rolled up her sleeves and went to work repairing relationships with heads of state around the world. From the evolving conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq to the turbulent Arab Spring, Hillary was always a steady hand on the foreign policy rudder.
Over the years, Hillary and I have conferred on health care, international terrorism, foreign affairs, the environment and gun safety.
Inevitably, our conversations turn to our daughters. We both have a daughter, and I know Chelsea enriches Hillary’s life far and above any achievement in politics or government. That special relationship is one reason the well-being of women and girls has been central to her agenda, as far back as the United Nations Women’s Conference in Beijing nearly 20 years ago.
I was an early and enthusiastic supporter during Hillary’s run for the White House in 2008. I believed she would be a spectacular leader and a transformative president for our country.
I still believe that. Now more than ever.
Dianne Feinstein is a Democratic U.S. senator from California.